Research: Vehicle vibrations significantly increase driver drowsiness

Like every major American city, St. Louis is crisscrossed by interstates and other major roadways carrying every imaginable type of 18-wheelers, cars, pick-ups, SUVs and motorcycles. Because of our city’s central location, we are often a stopping place for not only commercial drivers, but also tourists and other travelers.

Drowsiness is a danger for all of those drivers making long-distance treks, whether they are behind the wheel of a big rig or a Cooper Mini – and everything in between. Research has shown that drowsy drivers are more likely to cause motor vehicle accidents and injuries. A new study on drowsy driving shows the vibrations of a moving vehicle can significantly increase drowsiness.

We all understand the dangers of drunk, drugged or distracted driving, but far too often people overlook the very real dangers of drowsy driving. A fatigued or sleepy driver has trouble focusing, maintaining their lane and following vehicles at safe distances. In some cases, drowsy drivers will even doze off.

A recent study by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology found that the subtle vibrations of moving vehicles can have pronounced effects on increasing fatigue. Researchers put volunteers into driving simulators that could be vibrated at low frequencies. Each volunteer was rested before the tests began; and each was asked to complete the course three times: once with no vibrations and twice with low-frequency vibrations.

The researchers found that within 15 minutes, the effects of the vibrations was noticeable and that within a half-hour, vibrations make “a significant impact on your ability to stay concentrated and alert.”

Those who have been hurt in a motor vehicle wreck caused by a drowsy, distracted, drunk or drugged driver should contact an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.